Sunday 13 November 2011

Europe in crisis - What's happened to democracy?

I've got a feeling that in 100 years time you'll have history students in universities across Britain and Europe studying the economic and political crisis that's going on at the moment.

It might not feel like it now but we're living in historic times that academics and scholars will be studying in years to come.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about what I was going to say about the Greek crisis and the Euro, but that's yesterday's news - now it's all about Italy!

Not long ago I was thinking about how the Greek people are suffering and how they're having to put up with austerity measures forced upon them not by their own government but by the demands of EU leaders.

It made me think that decisions affecting their lives were being made by unelected leaders from the European Union - hardly democratic!

I've started to notice that this problem of a lack of democracy is being spoken about more and more by commentators.

Over in Italy it was becoming increasingly obvious, that Silvio Berlusconi had no real plans to tackle Italy's debt, but he wasn't kicked out of office by Italian voters. The financial markets did that, after they lost faith that he could introduce the economic reforms needed in the country.

In his place we have the 'technocrat' economist, Mario Monti. He might be the man to tackle Italy's debt crisis, but he's not been elected by the Italian people.

Many Italians will be glad to see the back of Berlusconi. Even as a non Italian you could see he was an embarrassment to the country, but it would still have been better if the Italian people removed him at the ballot box.

I've never considered myself to be a Eurosceptic - I'm generally all for greater European cooperation, but Europe is in a mess and greater economic and political union seems to have made things worse, particularly in terms of democracy.

I think many European leaders have let their voters down over the years, with excessive government borrowing and spending, and now tough decision are being imposed upon people who were unaware of what was really going on.

The problem is that many of these tough decisions are being made by faceless financial investors and European Bureaucrats who have never been elected by anyone.

That's not how democracy is supposed to work.

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